Superhero

A superhero (sometimes rendered super-hero or super hero or Super) is a type of heroic stock character, usually possessing supernatural or superhuman powers, who is dedicated to fighting the evil of their universe, protecting the public, and usually battling supervillains. A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine (also rendered super-heroine or super heroine), although the word superhero is also commonly used for females. Superhero fiction is the genre of fiction that is centered on such characters, especially in American comic book and films since the 1930s.

By most definitions, characters do not require actual superhuman powers or phenomena to be deemed superheroes.[1][2][3] While the Dictionary.com definition of "superhero" is "a figure, especially in a comic strip or cartoon, endowed with superhuman powers and usually portrayed as fighting evil or crime",[4] the longstanding Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the definition as "a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also: an exceptionally skillful or successful person".[5] Terms such as masked crime fighters, costumed adventurers or masked vigilantes are sometimes used to refer to characters such as the Spirit, who may not be explicitly referred to as superheroes but nevertheless share similar traits.

Some superheroes use their powers to counter daily crime while also combating threats against humanity from supervillains, who are their criminal counterparts. Often at least one of these supervillains will be the superhero's archenemy. Some long-running superheroes and superheroines such as Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, Green Lantern, the Flash, Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, Iron Man and the X-Men have a rogues gallery of many villains. There are movies and TV shows featuring various super heroes.

BlackHood
Black Hood, a superhero created by MLJ Comics in 1940

History

Pre-1940

Flame 002
Fox Feature Syndicate's 1930s–1940s superhero the Flame.

The word 'superhero' dates to at least 1917.[6] Antecedents of the archetype include such folkloric heroes as Robin Hood, who adventured in distinctive clothing.[7] The 1903 play The Scarlet Pimpernel and its spinoffs popularized the idea of a masked avenger and the superhero trope of a secret identity.[7] Shortly afterward, masked and costumed pulp fiction characters such as Jimmie Dale/the Gray Seal (1914), Zorro (1919), The Shadow (1930) and comic strip heroes, such as the Phantom (1936) began appearing, as did non-costumed characters with super strength, including Patoruzú (1928), the comic-strip character Popeye (1929) and novelist Philip Wylie's character Hugo Danner (1930).[8]

In the 1930s, both trends came together in some of the earliest superpowered costumed heroes such as Japan's Ōgon Bat[9][10] (visualized in painted panels used by kamishibai oral storytellers in Japan since 1931), Mandrake the Magician[11][12][13] (1934), Superman in 1938 and Captain Marvel (1939) at the beginning of the Golden Age of Comic Books. The precise era of the Golden Age of Comic Books is disputed, though most agree that it was started with the launch of Superman in 1938.[14] Superman remains one of the most recognizable Superheroes to this day.[14] The success of Superman spawned a whole new genre of characters with secret identities and superhuman powers – the Superhero genre.[14]

1940s

During the 1940s there were many superheroes: The Flash, Green Lantern and Blue Beetle debuted in this era. This era saw the debut of first known female superhero, writer-artist Fletcher Hanks's character Fantomah, an ageless ancient Egyptian woman in the modern day who could transform into a skull-faced creature with superpowers to fight evil; she debuted in Fiction House's Jungle Comic #2 (Feb. 1940), credited to the pseudonymous "Barclay Flagg".[15][16] The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil, a non-costumed character who fought crime and wartime saboteurs using the superpower of invisibility created by Russell Stamm, would debut in the eponymous syndicated newspaper comic strip a few months later on June 3, 1940.[17]

WowComicsNo2
Mr. Scarlet, the "Red Raider of Justice" a superhero appearing in Wow Comics (1940)

One superpowered character was portrayed as an antiheroine, a rarity for its time: the Black Widow, a costumed emissary of Satan who killed evildoers in order to send them to Hell—debuted in Mystic Comics #4 (Aug. 1940), from Timely Comics, the 1940s predecessor of Marvel Comics. Most of the other female costumed crime-fighters during this era lacked superpowers. Notable characters include The Woman in Red,[18][19] introduced in Standard Comics' Thrilling Comics #2 (March 1940); Lady Luck, debuting in the Sunday-newspaper comic-book insert The Spirit Section June 2, 1940; the comedic character Red Tornado, debuting in All-American Comics #20 (Nov 1940); Miss Fury,[20] debuting in the eponymous comic strip by female cartoonist Tarpé Mills on April 6, 1941; the Phantom Lady, introduced in Quality Comics Police Comics #1 (Aug. 1941); the Black Cat,[21][22] introduced in Harvey Comics' Pocket Comics #1 (also Aug. 1941); and the Black Canary, introduced in Flash Comics #86 (Aug. 1947) as a supporting character.[23] The most iconic comic book superheroine, who debuted during the Golden Age, is Wonder Woman.[24] Modeled from the myth of the Amazons of Greek mythology, she was created by psychologist William Moulton Marston, with help and inspiration from his wife Elizabeth and their mutual lover Olive Byrne.[25][26] Wonder Woman's first appearance was in All Star Comics #8 (Dec. 1941), published by All-American Publications, one of two companies that would merge to form DC Comics in 1944.

1950s

In 1952, Osamu Tezuka's manga Tetsuwan Atom, more popularly known in the West as Astro Boy, was published. The series focused upon a robot boy built by a scientist to replace his deceased son. Being built from an incomplete robot originally intended for military purposes Astro Boy possessed amazing powers such as flight through thrusters in his feet and the incredible mechanical strength of his limbs.

The 1950s saw the Silver Age of Comics. During this era DC introduced the likes of Batwoman in 1956, Supergirl, Miss Arrowette, and Bat-Girl; all female derivatives of established male superheroes.

In 1957 Japan, Shintoho produced the first film serial featuring the superhero character Super Giant, signaling a shift in Japanese popular culture towards tokusatsu masked superheroes over kaiju giant monsters. Along with Astro Boy, the Super Giant serials had a profound effect on Japanese television. 1958 saw the debut of superhero Moonlight Mask on Japanese television. It was the first of numerous televised superhero dramas that would make up the tokusatsu superhero genre.[27] Created by Kōhan Kawauchi, he followed-up its success with the tokusatsu superhero shows Seven Color Mask (1959) and Messenger of Allah (1960), both starring a young Sonny Chiba.

1960s

The Marvel Comics teams of the early 1960s typically included at least one (and often the only) female member, much like DC's flagship superhero team the Justice League of America (whose initial roster included Wonder Woman as the token female); examples include the Fantastic Four's Invisible Girl, the X-Men's Jean Grey (originally known as Marvel Girl), the Avengers' Wasp, and the Brotherhood of Mutants' Scarlet Witch (who later joined the Avengers).

In 1963, Astro Boy was adapted into a highly influential anime television series. Phantom Agents in 1964 focused on ninjas working for the Japanese government and would be the foundation for Sentai-type series. 1966 saw the debut of sci-fi/horror series Ultra Q created by Eiji Tsuburaya this would eventually lead on to the sequel Ultraman, spawning a successful franchise focused upon the Giant Hero subgenre where the Superheroes would be as big as giant monsters (Kaiju) that they fought.

1970s

In 1971, Kamen Rider launched the "Henshin Boom" on Japanese television in the early 1970s, greatly impacting the tokusatsu superhero genre in Japan.[28] In 1972, the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman anime debuted, which built upon the superhero team idea of the live-action Phantom Agents as well as introducing different colors for team members and special vehicles to support them, said vehicles could also combine into a larger one. Another important event was the debut of Mazinger Z by Go Nagai, creating the Super Robot genre. Go Nagai also wrote the manga Cutey Honey in 1973; although the Magical Girl genre already existed, Nagai's manga introduced Transformation sequences that would become a staple of Magical Girl media.

The 1970s would see more anti-heroes introduced into Superhero fiction such examples included the debut of Shotaro Ishinomori's Skull Man in 1970, Go Nagai's Devilman in 1972 and Gerry Conway and John Romita's Punisher in 1974.

The dark Skull Man manga would later get a television adaptation and underwent drastic changes. The character was redesigned to resemble a grasshopper, becoming the renowned first masked hero of the Kamen Rider series. Kamen Rider is a motorcycle riding hero in an insect-like costume, who shouts Henshin (Transform) to don his costume and gain superhuman powers.

The ideas of second-wave feminism, which spread through the 1960s into the 1970s, greatly influenced the way comic book companies would depict as well as market their female characters: Wonder Woman was for a time revamped as a mod-dressing martial artist directly inspired by the Emma Peel character from the British television series The Avengers (no relation to the superhero team of the same name),[29] but later reverted to Marston's original concept after the editors of Ms. magazine publicly disapproved of the character being depowered and without her traditional costume;[30] Supergirl was moved from being a secondary feature on Action Comics to headline Adventure Comics in 1969; the Lady Liberators appeared in an issue of The Avengers as a group of mind-controlled superheroines led by Valkyrie (actually a disguised supervillainess) and were meant to be a caricatured parody of feminist activists;[31] and Jean Grey became the embodiment of a cosmic being known as the Phoenix Force with seemingly unlimited power in the late 1970s, a stark contrast from her depiction as the weakest member of her team a decade ago.

Both major publishers began introducing new superheroines with a more distinct feminist theme as part of their origin stories or character development. Examples include Big Barda, Power Girl, and the Huntress by DC comics; and from Marvel, the second Black Widow, Shanna the She-Devil, and The Cat.[32] Female supporting characters who were successful professionals or hold positions of authority in their own right also debuted in the pages of several popular superhero titles from the late 1950s onward: Hal Jordan's love interest Carol Ferris was introduced as the Vice-President of Ferris Aircraft and later took over the company from her father; Medusa, who was first introduced in the Fantastic Four series, is a member of the Inhuman Royal Family and a prominent statesperson within her people's quasi-feudal society; and Carol Danvers, a decorated officer in the United States Air Force who would become a costumed superhero herself years later.

In 1975 Shotaro Ishinomori's Himitsu Sentai Gorenger debuted on what is now TV Asahi, it brought the concepts of multi-colored teams and supporting vehicles that debuted in Gatchaman into live-action, and began the Super Sentai franchise (later adapted into the American Power Rangers series in the 1990s). In 1978, Toei adapted Spider-Man into a live-action Japanese television series. In this continuity, Spider-Man had a vehicle called Marveller that could transform into a giant and powerful robot called Leopardon, this idea would be carried over to Toei's Battle Fever J and now multi-colored teams not only had support vehicles but giant robots to fight giant monsters with.

1980s onwards

In subsequent decades, popular characters like Dazzler, She-Hulk, Elektra, Catwoman, Witchblade, Spider-Girl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey became stars of long-running eponymous titles. Female characters began assuming leadership roles in many ensemble superhero teams; the Uncanny X-Men series and its related spin-off titles in particular have included many female characters in pivotal roles since the 1970s.[33] Volume 4 of the X-Men comic book series featured an all-female team as part of the Marvel NOW! branding initiative in 2013.[34] Superpowered female characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer[35] and Darna[36][37] have a tremendous influence on popular culture in their respective countries of origin.

With more and more anime, manga and tokusatsu being translated or adapted, Western audiences were beginning to experience the Japanese styles of superhero fiction more than they were able to before. Saban's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, an adaptation of Zyuranger, created a multimedia franchise that used footage from Super Sentai.[38] Internationally, the Japanese comic book character, Sailor Moon, is recognized as one of the most important and popular female superheroes ever created.[39][40][41][42][43]

Trademark status

Most dictionary definitions[6][44] and common usages of the term are generic and not limited to the characters of any particular company or companies.

Nevertheless, variations on the term "Super Hero" are jointly claimed by DC Comics and Marvel Comics as trademarks in the United States. Registrations of "Super Hero" marks have been maintained by DC and Marvel since the 1960s,[45] including U.S. Trademark Serial Nos. 72243225 and 73222079. In 2009, the term "Super Heroes" was registered as a typography-independent "descriptive" US trademark co-owned by DC and Marvel.[46] Both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have been assiduous in protecting their rights in the "Super Hero" trademarks in jurisdictions where the registrations are in force, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and including in respect of various goods and services falling outside comic book publications.[47]

Critics in the legal community dispute whether the "Super Hero" marks meet the legal standard for trademark protection in the United States: distinctive designation of a single source of a product or service. Controversy exists over each element of that standard: whether "Super Hero" is distinctive rather than generic, whether "Super Hero" designates a source of products or services, and whether DC and Marvel jointly represent a single source.[48] Some critics further characterize the marks as a misuse of trademark law to chill competition.[49] To date, aside from a failed trademark removal action brought in 2016 against DC Comics' and Marvel Comics' United Kingdom registration, no dispute involving the trademark "Super Hero" has ever been to trial or hearing.[47]

Minority superheroes

In keeping with their origins as representing the archetypical hero stock character in 1930s American comics, superheroes are predominantly depicted as white Anglo-Saxon American middle- or upper-class heterosexual young adult males who are typically tall, athletic, educated, physically attractive and in perfect health. Beginning in the 1960s with the civil rights movement in the United States, and increasingly with the rising concern over political correctness in the 1980s, superhero fiction centered on cultural, ethnic, national, racial and language minority groups (from the perspective of US demographics) began to be produced. This began with depiction of black superheroes in the 1960s, followed in the 1970s with a number of other ethnic superheroes.[50] In keeping with the political mood of the time, cultural diversity and inclusivism would be an important part of superhero groups starting from the 1980s. In the 1990s, this was further augmented by the first depictions of superheroes as homosexual. In 2017, Sign Gene emerged, the first group of deaf superheroes with superpowers through the use of sign language.[51]

Ethnic and religious minorities

In 1966, Marvel Comics introduced the Black Panther, an African monarch who became the first non-caricatured black superhero.[52] The first African-American superhero, the Falcon, followed in 1969, and three years later, Luke Cage, a self-styled "hero-for-hire", became the first black superhero to star in his own series. In 1989, the Monica Rambeau incarnation of Captain Marvel was the first female black superhero from a major publisher to get her own title in a special one-shot issue. In 1971, Red Wolf became the first Native American in the superheroic tradition to headline a series.[53] In 1973, Shang-Chi became the first prominent Asian superhero to star in an American comic book (Kato had been a secondary character of the Green Hornet media franchise series since its inception in the 1930s.[54]). Kitty Pryde, a member of the X-Men, was an openly Jewish superhero in mainstream American comic books as early as 1978.[55]

Comic-book companies were in the early stages of cultural expansion and many of these characters played to specific stereotypes; Cage and many of his contemporaries often employed lingo similar to that of blaxploitation films, Native Americans were often associated with shamanism and wild animals, and Asian Americans were often portrayed as kung fu martial artists. Subsequent minority heroes, such as the X-Men's Storm and the Teen Titans' Cyborg avoided such conventions; they were both part of ensemble teams, which became increasingly diverse in subsequent years. The X-Men, in particular, were revived in 1975 with a line-up of characters culled from several nations, including the Kenyan Storm, German Nightcrawler, Russian Colossus, Irish Banshee, and Japanese Sunfire. In 1993, Milestone Comics, an African-American-owned media/publishing company entered into a publishing agreement with DC Comics that allowed them to introduce a line of comics that included characters of many ethnic minorities. Milestone's initial run lasted four years, during which it introduced Static, a character adapted into the WB Network animated series Static Shock.

In addition to the creation of new minority heroes, publishers have filled the identities and roles of once-Caucasian heroes with new characters from minority backgrounds. The African-American John Stewart appeared in the 1970s as an alternate for Earth's Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and would become a regular member of the Green Lantern Corps from the 1980s onward. The creators of the 2000s-era Justice League animated series selected Stewart as the show's Green Lantern. In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Miles Morales, a multiracial American youth who was also bitten by a genetically-altered spider, debuted as the new Spider-Man after the apparent death of the original. Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenager who is revealed to have Inhuman lineage after her shapeshifting powers manifested, takes on the identity of Ms. Marvel in 2014. Her self-titled comic book series became a cultural phenomenon, with extensive media coverage by CNN, the New York Times and The Colbert Report, and embraced by anti-Islamophobia campaigners in San Francisco who plastered over anti-Muslim bus adverts with Kamala stickers.[56] Other such successor-heroes of color include James "Rhodey" Rhodes as Iron Man, Ryan Choi as the Atom, and Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle.

Certain established characters have had their ethnicity changed when adapted to another continuity or media. A notable example is Nick Fury, who is reinterpreted as African-American both in the Ultimate Marvel as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuities.

Sexual orientation and gender identity

In 1992, Marvel revealed that Northstar, a member of the Canadian mutant superhero team Alpha Flight, was homosexual, after years of implication.[57] This ended a long-standing editorial mandate that there would be no homosexual characters in Marvel comics.[58] Although some minor secondary characters in DC Comics' mature-audience 1980s miniseries Watchmen were gay, and the reformed supervillain Pied Piper came out to Wally West in an issue of The Flash in 1991, Northstar is considered to be the first openly gay superhero appearing in mainstream comic books. From the mid-2000s onward, several established Marvel and DC comics characters (or a variant version of the pre-existing character) were outed or reintroduced as LGBT individuals by both publishers. Examples include the Mikaal Tomas incarnation of Starman in 1998; Colossus in the Ultimate X-Men series; Renee Montoya in DC's Gotham Central series in 2003; the Kate Kane incarnation of Batwoman in 2006; Rictor and Shatterstar in an issue of X-Factor in 2009; the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott is reimagined as openly gay following The New 52 reboot in 2011;[59][60] and in 2015, a younger time displaced version of Iceman in an issue of All-New X-Men.[61]

Many new openly gay, lesbian and bisexual characters have since emerged in superhero fiction, such as Gen¹³'s Rainmaker, Apollo and Midnighter of The Authority, and Wiccan and Hulkling of the Young Avengers. Notable transgender or gender bending characters are fewer in number by comparison: the alter ego of superheroine Zsazsa Zaturnnah, a seminal character in Philippine popular culture,[62] is an effeminate gay man who transforms into a female superhuman after ingesting a magical stone. Desire from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series, Cloud from Defenders, and Xavin from the Runaways are all characters who could (and often) change their gender at will. Alysia Yeoh, a supporting character created by writer Gail Simone for the Batgirl ongoing series published by DC Comics, received substantial media attention in 2011 for being the first major transgender character written in a contemporary context in a mainstream American comic book.[63]

The Sailor Moon series is known for featuring a substantial number of openly LGBT characters since its inception, as Japan have traditionally been more open about portraying homosexuality in its children's media compared to many countries in the West.[64][65] Certain characters who are presented as homosexual or transgender in one continuity may not be presented as such in others, particularly with dubbed versions made for international release.[66]

An animated short The Ambiguously Gay Duo parodies comic book superheros and features Ace and Gary (Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell). It originated on The Dana Carvey Show and then moved to Saturday Night Live.

Language minority

In 2017, Pluin introduced Sign Gene, a film featuring a group of deaf superheroes with supernatural powers through the use of sign language. The film was produced by and with deaf people and nurtures the culture's self image by reflecting correctly the core of the Deaf culture, history and language.[51][67][68]

Subtypes

See also

References

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  66. ^ "Sailor Neptune and Uranus Come Out of the Fictional Closet". Huffington Post. May 21, 2014.
  67. ^ Trigari, Michela (September 12, 2017). "Sign Gene è il nuovo film di supereroi sordi" (in Italian). Corriere della Sera.
  68. ^ "Quando il super eroe è sordo" (in Italian). Avvenire. September 10, 2017.

Further reading

  • William Irwin (ed.), Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture, Wiley, 2011.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of superhero at Wiktionary
  • Media related to Superheroes at Wikimedia Commons
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Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2 is a 2018 American computer-animated superhero film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Written and directed by Brad Bird, it is a sequel to The Incredibles (2004) and the second full-length installment of the franchise. The story follows the Parr family as they try to restore public's trust in superheroes while balancing their family life, only to combat a new foe who seeks to turn the populace against all superheroes. Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their roles from the first film; newcomers to the cast include Huckleberry Milner, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener and Jonathan Banks. Michael Giacchino returned to compose the score.

Following the success of The Incredibles, Bird postponed development on a sequel to work on other films. He attempted to distinguish the script from superhero films and superhero television series released since the first film, focusing on the family dynamic rather than the superhero genre.

Incredibles 2 premiered in Los Angeles on June 5, 2018, and was theatrically released in the United States on June 15, 2018, in Disney Digital 3-D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX and IMAX 3D. The film received largely positive reviews and praise for its animation, voice acting, humor, characters, action sequences, and musical score, although it received some criticism for being derivative of its predecessor and the main villain. The film made $182.7 million in its opening weekend, setting the record for best debut for an animated film, and has grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 2018, the second highest-grossing animated film and the 15th highest-grossing film of all-time. Incredibles 2 was named by the National Board of Review as the Best Animated Film of 2018. The film was nominated at the 76th Golden Globe Awards and 91st Academy Awards, both for Best Animated Feature Film.

Logan (film)

Logan is a 2017 American superhero film starring Hugh Jackman as the X-Men character Wolverine. It is the tenth installment in the X-Men film series, as well as the third, and final, Wolverine solo film following, as well as a sequel to, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013). The film, which takes inspiration from "Old Man Logan" by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, based in an alternate bleak future, follows an alternative universe where an aged Wolverine and an extremely ill Charles Xavier defend a young mutant named Laura from the villainous Reavers and Alkali-Transigen led by Donald Pierce and Zander Rice, respectively. The film is produced by Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment and The Donners' Company, and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is directed by James Mangold, who co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Green and Scott Frank, from a story by Mangold. In addition to Jackman, the film also stars Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, and Dafne Keen.Principal photography began in Louisiana on May 2, 2016, and ended on August 19, 2016, in New Mexico. The locations used for Logan were mainly in Louisiana, New Mexico, and Mississippi. Jackman makes his final appearance as Wolverine in the film, having portrayed the character in all of the films in the X-Men franchise up to that point.

Logan premiered at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on March 3, 2017, in IMAX and standard formats. Critics praised the film for its screenplay, acting (particularly by Jackman, Stewart and Keen), Mangold's direction, action sequences, tone, deep themes, departure from traditional superhero films, and emotional depth. It became one of the best reviewed films in the X-Men series, with many critics regarding it as one of the greatest superhero films of all-time, and it was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2017. It was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards, becoming the first live-action superhero film ever to be nominated for screenwriting. It grossed over $619 million worldwide, and is the fifth-highest-grossing R-rated film ever, behind Deadpool, The Matrix Reloaded, Deadpool 2, and It.

Robin (character)

Robin is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson, to serve as a junior counterpart to the superhero Batman. The character's first incarnation, Dick Grayson, debuted in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Conceived as a way to attract young readership, Robin garnered overwhelmingly positive critical reception, doubling the sales of the Batman titles. The early adventures of Robin included Star Spangled Comics #65–130 (1947–1952), which was the character's first solo feature. Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books and other DC Comics publications from 1940 through the early 1980s until the character set aside the Robin identity and became the independent superhero Nightwing. The team of Batman and Robin has commonly been referred to as the Caped Crusaders or Dynamic Duo.

The character's second incarnation Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357 (1983). This Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books until 1988, when the character was murdered by the Joker in the storyline "A Death in the Family" (1989). Jason would later find himself alive after a reality changing incident, eventually becoming the Red Hood. The premiere Robin limited series was published in 1991 which featured the character's third incarnation Tim Drake training to earn the role of Batman's vigilante partner. Following two successful sequels, the monthly Robin ongoing series began in 1993 and ended in early 2009, which also helped his transition from sidekick to a superhero in his own right. In 2004 storylines, established DC Comics character Stephanie Brown became the fourth Robin for a short duration before the role reverted to Tim Drake. Damian Wayne succeeds Drake as Robin in the 2009 story arc "Battle for the Cowl".

Following the 2011 continuity reboot "the New 52", Tim Drake was revised as having assumed the title Red Robin, and Jason Todd, operating as the Red Hood, was slowly repairing his relationship with Batman. Dick Grayson resumed his role as Nightwing and Stephanie Brown was introduced anew under her previous moniker Spoiler in the pages of Batman Eternal (2014). The 2016 DC Rebirth continuity relaunch starts off with Damian Wayne as Robin, Tim Drake as Red Robin, Jason Todd as Red Hood, and Dick Grayson as Nightwing. Robins have also been featured throughout stories set in parallel worlds, owing to DC Comics' longstanding "Multiverse" concept. For example, in the original Earth-Two, Dick Grayson never adopted the name Nightwing, and continues operating as Robin into adulthood. In the New 52's "Earth-2" continuity, Robin is Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman, who was stranded on the Earth of the main continuity and takes the name Huntress.

Shazam! (film)

Shazam! is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Produced by New Line Cinema, it is intended to be the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden, and a story by Gayden and Darren Lemke, the film is set to star Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a teenage boy who can transform via the magic word "Shazam" into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi. Shazam! also features Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Djimon Hounsou as supporting characters. It will be the first film version of the character since the 1941 serial Adventures of Captain Marvel (the character's original name) and will be the first full-length feature film centered around the character.

Development of a live-action Shazam! film began at New Line in the early 2000s, but languished in development hell for many years. The film went into pre-production in 2008 with director Peter Segal and writer John August, and Dwayne Johnson considered to star as the villain Black Adam, but the project fell through. William Goldman, Alec Sokolow, Joel Cohen, Bill Birch, and Geoff Johns, among others, were all attached to the project as writers at various points. The film was officially announced in 2014, with Johnson attached to star as either Shazam or Black Adam. He would later be cast in January 2017 to lead a solo Black Adam development project. Sandberg signed on to direct Shazam! in February 2017 and Levi was cast that October with Angel joining the following month. Principal photography began in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in January 29, 2018, with most of the film shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios, and wrapped on May 11, 2018.

Shazam! is scheduled for release in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema and IMAX 3D on April 5, 2019.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man is a fictional superhero created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in the anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962) in the Silver Age of Comic Books. He appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, as well as in a number of movies, television shows, and video game adaptations set in the Marvel Universe. In the stories, Spider-Man is the alias of Peter Parker, an orphan raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in New York City after his parents Richard and Mary Parker were killed in a plane crash. Lee and Ditko had the character deal with the struggles of adolescence and financial issues, and accompanied him with many supporting characters, such as J. Jonah Jameson, Flash Thompson, Harry Osborn, romantic interests Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson, and foes such as Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin and Venom. His origin story has him acquiring spider-related abilities after a bite from a radioactive spider; these include clinging to surfaces, shooting spider-webs from wrist-mounted devices, and detecting danger with his "spider-sense".

When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a high school student from Queens behind Spider-Man's secret identity and with whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could relate. While Spider-Man had all the makings of a sidekick, unlike previous teen heroes such as Bucky and Robin, Spider-Man had no superhero mentor like Captain America and Batman; he thus had to learn for himself that "with great power there must also come great responsibility"—a line included in a text box in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story but later retroactively attributed to his guardian, the late Uncle Ben.

Marvel has featured Spider-Man in several comic book series, the first and longest-lasting of which is The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character developed from a shy, nerdy New York City high school student to troubled but outgoing college student, to married high school teacher to, in the late 2000s, a single freelance photographer. In the 2010s, he joins the Avengers, Marvel's flagship superhero team. Spider-Man's nemesis Doctor Octopus also took on the identity for a story arc spanning 2012–2014, following a body swap plot in which Peter appears to die. Marvel has also published books featuring alternate versions of Spider-Man, including Spider-Man 2099, which features the adventures of Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of the future; Ultimate Spider-Man, which features the adventures of a teenaged Peter Parker in an alternate universe; and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, which depicts the teenager Miles Morales, who takes up the mantle of Spider-Man after Ultimate Peter Parker's supposed death. Miles is later brought into mainstream continuity, where he works alongside Peter.

Spider-Man is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes. As Marvel's flagship character and company mascot, he has appeared in countless forms of media, including several animated and live action television series, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and in a series of films. The character was first portrayed in live action by Danny Seagren in Spidey Super Stories, a The Electric Company skit which ran from 1974 to 1977. In films, Spider-Man has been portrayed by actors Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland. Reeve Carney starred as Spider-Man in the 2010 Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Spider-Man has been well received as a superhero and comic book character, and he is often ranked as one of the most popular and iconic comic book characters of all time.

Superhero comics

Superhero comics are one of the most common genres of American comic books. The genre rose to prominence in the 1930s and became extremely popular in the 1940s and has remained the dominant form of comic book in North America since the 1960s. Superhero comics feature stories about superheroes and the universes these characters inhabit.

Beginning with the introduction of Superman in 1938 in Action Comics #1 — an anthology of adventure features — comic books devoted to superheroes (heroic people with extraordinary or superhuman abilities and skills, or god-like powers and attributes) ballooned into a widespread genre, coincident with the beginnings of World War II and the end of the Great Depression.

Superhero film

A superhero film, superhero movie, or superhero motion picture is a film that is focused on the actions of one or more superheroes: individuals who usually possess superhuman abilities relative to a normal person and are dedicated to protecting the public. These films typically feature action, adventure, fantasy or science fiction elements, with the first film of a particular character often including a focus on the origin of their special powers and their first confrontation with their most famous supervillain or archenemy.

Most superhero films are based on superhero comics. By contrast, several films such as the RoboCop series, The Meteor Man, Unbreakable film series, The Incredibles, Hancock and They Call Me Jeeg are original for the screen, while The Green Hornet is based primarily on the original radio series and its 1960s television adaptation, both Underdog and The Powerpuff Girls are based on animated television series, and Japanese tokusatsu and anime superhero films are based on manga and television shows.

After a long series of flops, since the 2000s the film genre reversed its fortunes and grew to become a dominant mainstream film genre worldwide. The most notable and successful superhero films since the year 2000 are Fox Studio's X-Men franchise, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, Pixar's The Incredibles series, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, the films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starting with Iron Man and the films set in the DC Extended Universe starting with Man of Steel. This commercial dominance has largely been accompanied by generally enthusiastic critical support for many of these films, which includes major Academy Awards. Reflecting the fantasy subgenre's noted narrative flexibility in its original comic book publishing format, the film subgenre has been commercially successful in a wide variety of genres such as action, horror, fantasy, comedy etc.

Superman

Superman is a fictional superhero created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. He first appeared in Action Comics #1, a comic book published on April 18, 1938. He appears regularly in American comic books published by DC Comics, and has been adapted to radio shows, newspaper strips, television shows, movies, and video games.

Superman was born on the planet Krypton and named Kal-El. As a baby, he was sent to Earth in a small spaceship by his scientist father Jor-El moments before Krypton was destroyed in a natural cataclysm. His ship landed in the American countryside; he was found and adopted by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, who named him Clark Kent. Clark displayed various superhuman abilities, such as incredible strength and impervious skin. His foster parents advised him to use his gifts for the benefit of humanity, and he decided to use his powers to fight crime as a vigilante. To protect his privacy, he changes into a colorful costume and uses the alias "Superman" when fighting crime. Clark Kent resides in the fictional American city of Metropolis, where he works as a journalist for the Daily Planet. Superman's love interest is his fellow journalist Lois Lane, and his classic arch-enemy is the genius inventor Lex Luthor. He is a friend of many other superheroes in the DC Universe, such as Batman and Wonder Woman.

Superman is a cultural icon of the United States. Superman popularized the superhero genre and defined its conventions, and it remains one of the most lucrative superhero franchises.

Supervillain

A supervillain is a variant of the villainous stock character that is commonly found in American comic books, usually possessing superhuman abilities. A supervillain is the antithesis of a superhero.

Supervillains are often used as foils to present a daunting challenge to a superhero. In instances where the supervillain does not have superhuman, mystical, or alien powers, the supervillain may possess a genius intellect or a skill set that allows them to draft complex schemes or commit crimes in a way normal humans cannot. Other traits may include megalomania and possession of considerable resources to further their aims. Many supervillains share some typical characteristics of real world dictators, gangsters, and terrorists, with aspirations of world domination or universal leadership.

Teen Titans Go! (TV series)

Teen Titans Go! is an American animated television series airing in the U.S. on Cartoon Network since April 23, 2013 and based on the DC Comics fictional superhero team. The series was announced following the popularity of DC Nation's New Teen Titans shorts.Sporting a new animation style, Teen Titans Go! serves as a comedic spin-off with little to no continuity to the previous series (although some references are included as comedic fan service) or any other media in the DC Comics franchise. Many DC characters make cameo appearances and are referenced in the background. The original principal voice cast returns to reprise their respective roles. This series explores what the Titans do when they are hanging out around the tower.

On March 8, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a fifth season, which aired on June 25, 2018.A feature film, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, was released in theaters on July 27, 2018.

The production companies of the series are DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, with the animation outsourced to Canada at Copernicus Studios and Bardel Entertainment.

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is a 2018 American animated superhero comedy film based on the television series Teen Titans Go!, which is adapted from the DC Comics superhero team of the same name. This film is written and produced by series developers Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath, and directed by series producer Peter Rida Michail and Horvath. The events of the film take place during the fifth season of Teen Titans Go!

The film features the voices of Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Tara Strong and Hynden Walch reprising their respective roles from the series, while Will Arnett (who also produced the film) and Kristen Bell join the cast. It was theatrically released in the United States and Canada on July 27, 2018, by Warner Bros. The film was a box office success, and has grossed over $52 million worldwide against a $10 million budget and received generally positive reviews, with praise toward the cast and humor.

The Incredibles

The Incredibles is a 2004 American computer-animated superhero film written and directed by Brad Bird, produced by Pixar Animation Studios, released by Walt Disney Pictures, and starring the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Spencer Fox, Jason Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, and Elizabeth Peña. Set in an

alternate version of the 1960s, the film follows the Parrs, a family of superheroes who hide their powers in accordance with a government mandate, and attempt to live a quiet suburban life. Mr. Incredible's desire to help people draws the entire family into a confrontation with a vengeful fan-turned-foe and his killer robot.

Bird, who was Pixar's first outside director, developed the film as an extension of the 1960s comic books and spy films from his boyhood and personal family life. He pitched the film to Pixar after the box office disappointment of his first feature, The Iron Giant (1999), and carried over much of its staff to develop The Incredibles. The animation team was tasked with animating an all-human cast, which required creating new technology to animate detailed human anatomy, clothing and realistic skin and hair. Michael Giacchino composed the film's orchestral score.

The film premiered on October 27, 2004, at the BFI London Film Festival and had its general release in the United States on November 5, 2004. It performed well at the box office, grossing $633 million worldwide during its original theatrical run. The Incredibles received widespread approval from critics and audiences, winning two Academy Awards and the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature. It was the first entirely animated film to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. A sequel, Incredibles 2, was released June 15, 2018.

The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Batman Movie is a 2017 computer-animated superhero comedy film produced by the Warner Animation Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was directed by Chris McKay, and written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington, and produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Based on the Lego Batman toy line, the film is an international co-production of the United States, Australia and Denmark, and the first spin-off installment of The Lego Movie franchise. The story centers on the DC Comics character Batman as he attempts to overcome his greatest fear in order to stop the Joker's latest plan. The film features Will Arnett reprising his role as Batman for the film alongside Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes.

The Lego Batman Movie had its world premiere in Dublin, Ireland on January 29, 2017, and was released in the United States on February 10, 2017. Internationally, the film was released in 3D, RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX and IMAX 3D. The film received positive reviews with critics praising its animation, voice acting, soundtrack, visual style and humor and was also commercially successful, having grossed $312 million worldwide against a budget of $80 million. A sequel is in development.

Unbreakable (film)

Unbreakable is a 2000 American superhero thriller film written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, alongside Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard. It is the first installment in the Unbreakable film series. In Unbreakable, a security guard named David Dunn survives a horrific train crash.

Shyamalan organized the narrative of Unbreakable to parallel a comic book's traditional three-part story structure. After settling on the origin story, Shyamalan wrote the screenplay as a speculative screenplay with Bruce Willis already set to star in the film and Jackson in mind to portray Elijah Price. Filming began in April 2000 and was completed in July.

Unbreakable was released on November 22, 2000. It received positive reviews, with critics praising its aesthetics, the performances, the emotional weight of the story, and the score by James Newton Howard. The film has subsequently gained a strong cult following. A deconstruction of the superhero genre, many regard it as one of Shyamalan's best films, and one of the best superhero films. In 2011, Time listed it as one of the top ten superhero films of all time, ranking it number four. Quentin Tarantino also included it on his list of the top 20 films released since 1992.After years of development on a follow-up film, a thematic sequel, Split, with Willis reprising his role as David Dunn in a cameo role, was released in January 2017. After the financial and critical success of Split, Shyamalan immediately began working on a third film, titled Glass, which was released January 18, 2019, thus making Unbreakable the first installment in the Unbreakable Trilogy.

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